I learned last year that Senator Joe Lieberman is brilliant man with an unbelievable ability to ignore reality. In 2006, he spent his election campaign promising to bring the troops home from Iraq, and promptly reversed course after winning reelection, going even further with belligerent rhetoric against Iran. Now he's working on something even bigger than the Iraq war - an economy-wide bill on climate change.
We all know that Lieberman cannot be trusted, but to understand the problem with his particular approach to global warming, you need to get that the Senate is far ahead of the deniers but is focused on how to regulate carbon. There are a whole host of bills on carbon (you can track them at Hillheat.com), but only the Sanders-Boxer bill does what is needed. The rest of them are worse than nothing. If you pass a big piece of legislation, we'll have to wait at least five years before understanding it hasn't worked, which is five years we don't have. And with that in mind, here's Lieberman's latest.
The bill from Warner and Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La., Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., tries to limit the cost of mandating reductions of greenhouse gas emissions through an emissions cap-and-trade program.
Their bill would allow companies to borrow emission permits and pay them back in future years with interest and to buy more offsets to meet their emission requirements. The bill establishes a seven-member, president-appointed Carbon Market Efficiency Board to oversee the carbon emissions market and, if necessary, permit a temporary increase in emission allocations when prices remain high.
The Senate would have to confirm the board members, who would have 14-year terms.
Basically this bill sets up a complicated scheme to give away carbon rights to industry, and don't worry, if the price of carbon goes to high, the government ll just let more into the atmosphere. It is, in other words, a fraud, designed not to work.
Backing the bill is environmental DLC group Environmental Defense, and their President Fred Krupp. There's no nice way to say this, so I'll just say it. Krupp has been selling out the environmental movement for years.
I'm trying to get my head around the climate change debate, and there's quite a bit here, obviously. There's the Farm bill, the Energy bill, transportation, and a whole host of regulatory agencies. But coming down the pike this fall are a series of economy-wide measures to regulate carbon. We shouldn't pass anything until 2009, when the next President takes office, because Bush won't sign anything that solves the problem. We need to be sure that the bill that goes through works, and this Congress can't get a bill like that done.
There's useful stuff to get done right now on carbon policy. But going for full bore cap and trade, with people like Lieberman, Landrieu, Lincoln, Warner, Graham and Krupp in charge, will be a disaster.